While the Securities and Exchange Commission has taken “positive steps with good intent” in its recently released standard of conduct proposal for brokers and advisors, “there are serious problems in the rule,” and it’s likely the rule “will never fully come to pass,” Blaine Aikin, executive chairman of the fiduciary education, training and technology firm Fi360, told attendees Wednesday at the firm’s annual conference in San Diego.
Fi360, Aikin said, foresees “a long and arduous path” for the SEC’s rule, which the regulatory agency approved on April 18 and is out for a 90-day comment period.
“When you look at the dynamics of the situation, there are obstacles to the [SEC] rule gaining consensus,” Aikin told ThinkAdvisor in separate comments.
“The commissioners expressed significant reservations” about the proposal, he explained. And “there are avenues for people to challenge the rule [in the plan’s] economic analysis, how the rule is drafted and the elements of it, as well as the difficulty in navigating the different points of views at the Commission” regarding the proposed rule.
Barring court challenges, the SEC’s rule proposal wouldn’t likely be finalized until 2019, with the rule’s implementation anticipated in 2020, Aikin said.
However, certain aspects of the SEC’s conduct plan, namely Regulation Best Interest for brokers, “will see pushback,” he said.
“The big change” in the SEC’s proposed standard of conduct proposal is the introduction of the “new best interest standard” for brokers, Aikin told attendees. “We look at this and scratch our head because that’s [best interest concept has] been grounded in fiduciary.”